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Hoosier Coach Cover-Up

Meanwhile, as the musical chairs continue, word is that John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, who's leaving after four years, may well be remaining in government, though unclear where.

The most likely spots for Bolton would seem to be at the Pentagon, possibly replacing outgoing Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith.

_____In the Loop_____
A Smiley Face on Social Security (The Washington Post, Feb 28, 2005)
Iranians Might Find Bush Remark Puzzling (The Washington Post, Feb 25, 2005)
Skipping the After-Dinner Cordial (The Washington Post, Feb 23, 2005)
In the Loop (The Washington Post, Feb 21, 2005)
Honeymoon That Wasn't (The Washington Post, Feb 18, 2005)
More In the Loop

At the Justice Department, smart money is drifting to acting Solicitor General Paul D. Clement to get the nomination for the top spot. Clement, a former Senate Judiciary Committee aide, had been deputy solicitor general since the beginning of the Bush presidency and became acting SG when Theodore B. Olson left the job last spring.

Others had been talked about for the SG job, maybe because Clement is only 39 -- but he's aging every minute.

Meanwhile, Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray, who runs the Criminal Division, has stepped down to pursue options in the private sector. The administration will likely want to move quickly to fill this spot.

Verdery Off the Books

C. Stewart Verdery Jr., assistant secretary for border and transportation security policy and planning at the Department of Homeland Security, is joining the government affairs firm of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc. this month. A longtime Senate aide, Verdery signed on with DHS in 2003, after four years as counsel to then-Assistant Senate Majority Leader Don Nickles (R-Okla.).

Verdery, the DHS point man on aviation security, immigration enforcement, visa policy, cargo security and other matters, is also planning to affiliate with a think tank to continue work on security issues.

The Kristol Ball

Extremely influential and well-sourced Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, on "Fox News Sunday," said: " There will be a military strike against Iran, if it comes to it, a year from now, and we can at least delay, and we don't know where every single thing they have is, but we know enough, I think, to delay their nuclear program, and I do not think George W. Bush thinks he got reelected in order to allow the Iranian mullahs to become a nuclear power."

And here we'd been thinking maybe a spring strike . . .

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